Pew-MacArthur Results First Hosts California Summit

On Sept. 24, the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative hosted the 2015 California County Summit in Santa Barbara. Delegations from the four Results First partner counties gathered to discuss their successes in implementing the Results First approach, share lessons learned, and plan their next steps to expand and strengthen the use of evidence-based policymaking in their communities.

Over the past two years, these partner counties—Fresno, Kern, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz—have made significant progress toward addressing the challenges posed by landmark criminal justice reform in the state, commonly referred to as “realignment.” Faced with a dramatic change in the size, composition, and priorities of the county-level criminal justice system, they partnered with the Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative to develop a culture of decision-making that relies on evidence rather than anecdote or precedent. Using the Results First approach, these counties are identifying and investing in programs that work to reduce recidivism in their communities and make the best use of limited resources.

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The Results First team recently released its first California case study, which profiles the progress achieved in the four counties thus far.

Speakers from each county opened the event by sharing their successes in developing countywide program inventories, assessing the evidence behind each intervention funded, and customizing the Results First benefit-cost model with county data. Taken together, these tools provide county-specific road maps for strategic investments in programs that will generate the highest rate of return. County leaders also discussed how these road maps have already helped them make budget, policy, and programming decisions.

Throughout the summit, county officials highlighted their innovative strategies for using Results First as an organizing principle and a framework for assessing and improving their budgeting, grant-making, contract structuring, and jail planning processes. The Results First team also shared ideas drawn from its experience working with states across the country, including a session with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services on performance contracting and fidelity monitoring.

The event concluded with a structured county planning session, during which stakeholders shared lessons learned and set short- and long-term goals for influencing change in their agencies and communities. Counties will draw upon these strategic plans as they continue to explore opportunities for using the Results First approach to secure better public safety outcomes for their residents.

The Results First team recently released its first California case study, which profiles the progress achieved in the four counties thus far. The case study offers a broad view of the county-level partnerships, as well as county-specific sections that offer more localized details.

For more information about the case study, including the full text, click here.

The Pew-MacArthur Results First Initiative, a project of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, works with states and counties to implement an innovative cost-benefit analysis approach that helps them invest in policies and programs that are proved to work. To learn more about the project, visit its website

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